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Soak the ham shank in cold water overnight, then drain. The next day, pour hot water from the kettle over the ham to scald it. Discard the water.
Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer the ham for 2-3 hrs until very tender.
When the meat is almost cooked, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion over a medium heat for 6-8 mins, or until softened. Add the leeks, carrots, swede, celery, potatoes and dried herbs, if using. (If using fresh, don’t add at this stage.) Pour in more cold water to just cover the veg. Season. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 mins until softened. Meanwhile, put the barley in another saucepan and cover with boiled water from the kettle. Boil for 8-10 mins over a medium heat until starting to soften. Drain. Set aside.
When the ham is cooked, drain the liquid, saving one cupful. Trim the fat from the ham and slice the meat into large chunks. Add the meat to the pan of vegetables and pour in a little of the reserved stock, but not too much, as it will be salty. Top up with enough cold water to cover everything and bring to a simmer.
Add the barley and lentils and cook for 20-25 mins until tender. Around 5 mins before the end of cooking, add the peas and the fresh herbs, if using. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with steamed cabbage and crusty white bread, if you like.